Why is vodka orange juice called a screwdriver?

Answered by Michael Wilson

The origin of the name “screwdriver” for the vodka and orange juice cocktail is quite interesting. It is not rooted in any specific historical event or cultural tradition, but rather has a rather practical and spontaneous background. The story goes back to the mid-20th century when American oil workers found themselves in the Persian Gulf.

These American oil workers, often stationed on oil rigs or in remote areas, had limited access to various ingredients and tools for making cocktails. However, they were resourceful and inventive, making do with what they had. One day, while enjoying their downtime, they came up with a simple and ingenious solution for mixing their drinks without a spoon.

In the absence of a proper stirring utensil, the oil workers began using a tool they had readily available: a screwdriver. They would add a splash of vodka to their orange juice and then use the screwdriver to mix the two together. This makeshift stirring method not only served the purpose of blending the alcohol and juice but also gave the drink its unique name.

The name “screwdriver” originated from the tool used to mix the cocktail, resembling the action of turning a screw (the screwdriver) in a screw hole. It quickly caught on among the oil workers, and the term spread beyond the oil rigs, becoming a popular name for the vodka and orange juice combination.

It’s worth noting that the screwdriver cocktail gained popularity not only among oil workers but also in the general public. Its simplicity and refreshing taste made it an appealing choice for many. Over time, the screwdriver became a classic cocktail found in bars and households worldwide, with variations and adaptations adding new flavors and twists to the original recipe.

The story behind the screwdriver’s name reflects the ingenuity and resourcefulness of those American oil workers in the Persian Gulf. They found a creative solution to mix their drinks and inadvertently gave birth to a cocktail with a unique and memorable name.

The screwdriver cocktail got its name from the tool used to stir the vodka and orange juice mixture. It originated from the improvisation of American oil workers in the mid-20th century, who used a screwdriver in the absence of a spoon. This inventive and practical solution gave rise to a popular cocktail that continues to be enjoyed around the world today.